May sees Liberation Day, marking the end of World War 2 for Jersey and its residents. The Channel Islands were infamously the only United Kingdom territories to be occupied by the German Forces. The islanders suffered almost five years of fear and hunger, leading to great relief when freedom was finally proclaimed on the 8 May 1945, first by Winston Churchill in London — “Our Dear Channel islands are also to be freed today” — then by the Bailiff of Jersey on 9 May, in what has now become Liberation Day in St Helier.
This day takes place around Liberation Square, named in 1995 to commemorate 50 years since the end of the Occupation; its history however, stretches much further into Jersey’s past.
To the north of the square stands the Pomme D’Or Hotel, used by the Nazis as their headquarters during the Occupation. The hotel’s original balcony was the focal point for celebrations when the island was liberated by British forces.
The day is considered as Jersey’s national day and is celebrated year after year with bands, parades, services, singing, and dancing. Colourful re-enactments are always popular, providing a vivid insight into what happened over 70 years ago.